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days; " and though this is rightly taken as addition; yet, in Hebrew, there is no vau, or and, except between the thirty
It deserves notice, that, though, in noting the ages of the Patriarchs before the flood, the mode of numeration is to begin with the units, and proceed to the tens, and lastly to the hundreds, yet not only here and elsewhere, but also in the books of Exodus and Numbers, which were likewise written by Moses, the notation is inverted; and the larger numbers are written first. See Exod. xxxviii. 26. and Numbers, ch. i. 23, 25, et seq. It appears, also, that numbers were sometimes recorded promiscuously, without any regard to their rank, in what we now call the Numeration Table. Where we meet with tens before units, and hundreds, sometimes before, and sometimes after thousands, we may regard such notation as a transcript from the ancient Abacus; in which the numbers were put without order, as we find them in a common account, consisting of various sums. See Ezek. xlv. 12. and Theocritus, Idyl. xiv. 44. and xvii. 82.
Speaking of the men of Beth-shemesh, (a small town belonging to the tribe of Judah,) who were destroyed for looking into the ark, it is said, (1 Sam. vi. 19,) that "he smote of the people, fifty thousand and threescore and ten men." This is our translation; but the Hebrew is "seventy men, fifty, a thousand men." Now, if the vau has been omitted between the fifty and the thousand, the number will then be 70+50+1000, or 1120 men. Some of the ancient versions have 5070, and Josephus has only 70. The reader will judge of the probability attached to these numbers, and to the change, or alteration, which might have been made in the original text. In the same manner, if the vau were introduced, as the sign of addition, between some of the respective numbers of the eleven tribes, in this first chapter, the sums would be greatly altered; but this is by no means recommended as an expedient to ascertain the real numbers, or to correct the sacred text with accuracy: it is only proposed, on the present occasion, as an illustration, to show the important functions of the vau, as a numeral.
Other conjectures may deserve consideration. The aleph, being the first letter in the Hebrew alphabet, is used for the great leading number, a thousand; it means, also, a chieftain, or leader, probably at first of 1000 men. We find it in this sense, 1 Sam. xviii. 13. It signifies, also, the company, or regiment, as we should now say, itself; (see Parkhurst's Lexicon, or Bochart, Phaleg. p. 667.) and it is remarkable, that throughout this chapter, it is always in the singular number,, not D', as usual, though not invariable, on other occasions. Is
it not possible that, in transcription, the word aleph might have been mistaken for a numeral, when it was intended to signify the tribe, or the chieftain, who, we read, was to preside over it, and who, as a qualification, was to be the "head of the house of his fathers?" Num. 1. 4. The consideration, that all ancient MSS. were written without any break, or space, between the words, favors this supposition.
That there are many and great mistakes throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, with respect to numbers, will scarcely be denied; and that there are some which pervade the numbers mentioned in this chapter, we may be induced to believe, not only from the magnitude, but from the comparative smallness, of the number of first-born, which was only 22273. (See Num. iii. 42.) When it is considered, that the Israelites were polygamists, and that it was the first-born of the mother who was numbered; (Exod. xii. 12.) that a man might have three or four wives; that these people gloried in being prolific; that the number of the men was 603550; and that 22273 does not allow one first-born male to 27 of those men, who were 20 years old and upward,' without including such as were somewhat younger; we must suppose, that there has been some derangement, or alteration, of the numbers, though the sums in Exodus, and in other parts of this book, seem to have been regulated, in some measure, by the total here given.
Farther, when Joshua (iv. 12, 13.) mentions the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh, he makes them amount only to about 40,000 men, and this is corroborated by 1. Chron. v. 18; whereas, if we take the estimate from Numb. xxvi. they will be found to be 110,580. Commentators endeavour to reconcile the enormous difference by supposing, that only a detachment of them crossed the Jordan; but this is scarcely consistent with their previous covenant with Moses, which was, that they were "to go all of them armed over Jordan, and every man prepared for battle." See Num. xxxii. 21, 29. The supposition, that the numbers are greatly enlarged, will be strengthened by considering, that throughout the book of Joshua, containing the history of the principal battles of the Israelites, we no-where read of more than 40,000 being brought into the field; and that, in the song of Deborah, which, from its poetry, admitted of amplification, when she deplored the degeneracy the Israelites, and the disgraceful circumstance of their being disarmed throughout the land by their enemies, instead of talking of hundreds of thousands, she only says, " was there a shield or spear seen among 40,000 in Israel?" Judg. v. 8. This would not have been any great national calamity, if all the rest had been completely armed.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE CLASSICAL JOURNAL.
IF the following Inscriptions are of any value to your
Journal, I shall be happy to forward others occasionally, which I have collected in my late travels in the Mediterranean.
I am, your's, &c.
Sarcophagus of black granite at Alexandria Troas; some of the letters were very much worn. The part, on which the Inscription is carved, stands out in alto relief, as also do the two suspended Lachrymals on the sarcophagus.-The external measure of the coffin is seven feet eight inches.
The above was evidently part of a sentence, informing by whom the temple was
built, and in whose Archonship. It may be written thus:
ΗΡΩΣΑΣ ΑΝΕΘΗΚΕΝ ΑΡΧΟΝΤΟΣ ΜΕΝ
Of Sir W. DRUMMOND on the Egyptian names in the Old 'Testament.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE CLASSICAL JOURnal.
FROM some circumstances known to your Printer, it happened that I had not the means of correcting the Coptic words, which appeared in my remarks in your fourth Number. I have since observed one error, if it were not originally a slip of my own pen, in the word P'hont. I shall just remark, by the way, that there is also an error in the printing of an Arabic word, which, however, is so evident, that your learned readers will easily perceive and repair it.
With respect to the first of these errors, I confess, I did not conceive it to be of much importance. For the information of your readers, who do not understand Coptic, it is only necessary to observe, that the word P'hont was printed in Coptic characters with the double instead of the single aspirate. Had I seen this, I should have altered it; and that I should have done so will appear very natural, when it is considered, that I had always written it with the single aspirate in my former works, into which I had occasion to introduce this name.
I should have conceived it to have been quite sufficient to have begged of you to notice this mistake in the list of your errata, (and, indeed, I have to thank you for your note in the last number,) had not the letter of your correspondent from Norwich rendered it necessary for me to enter into a fuller explanation on the subject.
There can be no doubt, that in Wilkins's Coptic Pentateuch, the word P'hont is written with the single and not the double aspirate; and if the error proceeded from me, which, though I do not recollect it, I think very probable, it certainly was not intentionally. But since your correspondent enters with interest No. VIII.
into the subject of Coptic orthography, there is a question which I would wish to submit to his consideration. It appears to me that the letter 2 is one of those, which has been received at a comparatively recent date into the Coptic alphabet. This seems to be confirmed by what he himself states from Akerblad concerning the Rosetta inscription, in which "the Egyptian letter for denotes not only ch, but also the softer aspirate h." It is a considerable time since I have looked at the Rosetta inscription; and, therefore, I cannot venture to speak as to its precise date; but I should not suppose it to be more than about three hundred years more ancient than the Coptic translation of the Bible, which Woidé, Renaudot, Wilkins, and others suppose to have been in existence in the second century. I leave it, however, to your correspondent to consider, whether in this ancient translation, the word P'hont may not have been written ПIXOнT. For myself, I have only to say, that the reading at present in the Coptic Pentateuch is II2OHT, and that my employing the double aspirate must have proceeded from inadvertence, as it was not done with reference to the doubts which I have now been suggesting to the consideration of your correspondent.
It is not my intention to enter into any controversy with your correspondent on the etymologies which he has proposed instead of mine; but as he has apparently misunderstood, and has certainly mistated, my meaning upon some points, I must trouble you with a few remarks on his objections.
"Sir W.Drummond," says he, "proposes to substitute in Paaneah à He as the last letter, instead of a Heth, because it is the reading in the Samaritan text, but then he is at a loss what to do with the first letter P; and proposes to consider it as being
the Egyptian article P' the," usually prefixed to Egyptian words; but this makes a strange medley of a Hebrew word with an Egyptian article before it, which would render the translation useless to those very Jews, for whose benefit it was made by the Hebrew scribes, who first inserted it instead of the original Egyptian word.”
I The whole of this passage is a misrepresentation (an unintentional one I have no doubt) from beginning to end. I did not